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Conference of the Family Platform

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[11. 11. 2010] On 4th and 5th of Nov. the second conference of the FamilyPlatform took place in Brussels. Representatives from NGOs, the EU Commission and academics from all over Europe came together to discuss possible priorities for the integration of family research in support programs of the EU and to highlight the related policy issues.

 

The Brussels conference was opened by Jahier Luca, president of Group III of the European Economic and Social Committee, and Pierre Valette, Head of the Department of Economic, Social and Human Sciences Research of the European Commission.
 
The event continues the work of the FamilyPlatform, in which since the end of 2009, 150 representatives from academia, civil society and politics have met under a syndicate of twelve organizations to compile main focuses for a research agenda on family questions at EU level. These shall merge into the eighth frame research program of the EU.
 
The prelude day to the conference was dedicated to the summary of previously developed family-related "Existential Fields" and the research gaps, and critical feedback of the participants of the FamilyPlatform. Here, the process of development of "future scenarios" also played a great role. It served as a methodology for the development of political and academic core questions on family life and structures. NGOs, keeping in mind their civil society positions, commented on the research and topic selection process.
 
On the second day of the conference the coordinating researcher, Martina Rupp, introduced the essential search fields which have arisen according to the present state of the process of the FamilyPlatform and the participation of the NGOs and academics:
 

  • Life history (life course) and transformations (transitions) in the family life (including family structures and forms);
  • Demographic change (including inter-generational relationships);
  • Care Packages (children, elderly, disabled);
  • Doing family (including the roles within the family, gender roles and work-life balance);
  • Migration and Mobility;
  • Monitoring / evaluation of social policies and to generate a data pool for Europe.

 
In the further course of the conference these subject fields were more exactly demonstrated in detailed talks, a panel discussion and statements were linked together with political questions. Thus the idea of ' Family Mainstreaming ' was also discussed as a review process for every legislative act. Important topics were also the form of recognition of unpaid (domestic) welfare activities, the adaptation of work to family life, recognition of diverse family forms (also in the life course), maternity and fatherhood, as well as very different issues of migration and mobility in relation to family life.
 
The process of Family Platform is not yet complete, further commentary for a European research agenda for families and family life are possible in the coming months. The research priorities should be available at the beginning of 2011 and will be negotiated in the EU Commission. A first research topic will be announced by the EU as early as July 2011.